The 4th of July is always a busy time for Missoula Rural Fire, but especially so in the last 48 hours, after responding to two major fires literally back to back.

Assistant Chief Brent Christofferson said the first blaze occurred due to fireworks that were not disposed of properly. The call came in early in the morning of July 5 at 3405 North Avenue.

“The call came in at 4:05 a.m. on July 5,” said Christofferson. “It was initially reported by a Missoula County Sheriff’s deputy who was out on patrol. Upon arrival at that address the crews found an attached garage to a home fully involved in fire. They knocked down that fire right away.”

Christofferson said the residents of the home, who had used fireworks that night, were able to escape the burning structure.

“We had people that were in the house,” he said. “At the time, the owners and a tenant downstairs were able to get out of the home, which we were very thankful for. They did douse the fireworks they used with water but unfortunately that was not enough and the trash container was up against the garage, and we believe that was the cause of the fire.”

Christofferson said as crews were battling that house fire, a call came in for an industrial fire at Roseburg Forestry Products.

“We could see the flames and the black smoke that were being emitted into the air as we were responding there,” he said. “We found the fire in the pre-dry facility and Roseburg employees had started the fire attack, which we were thankful for. The fire was stubborn. We had to gain a lot of different ways to access particular areas in the pre-dry facility, and so it took us some tome to battle that blaze.”

Christofferson said both blazes kept crews busy until mid morning Sunday.

“We answered the call there at 6:19 a.m. and we were on scene there for several hours,” he said. “We had 36 firefighters, five engines, two truck companies, four water tenders and three command vehicles responding to that incident. We appreciate all our partners assisting us, Missoula Emergency Services, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, Missoula City Fire Department and other departments to help us cover our area.”

Christofferson said the smoke alarm was not functioning at the residential fire, and he reminds homeowners to regularly check their smoke alarms to ensure that they are working properly.


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